COVID-19 is a new type of infection and so the best treatments are not known. There are some existing treatments that may be effective in treating COVID-19. The ASCOT trial aims to discover which existing treatments are most effective.
The study will start by trialing two treatments that have been shown to kill COVID-19 in laboratory tests. They are Lopinavir/ritonavir and hydroxychloroquine. The World Health Organisation considers both these drugs to be promising treatments for COVID-19, but more research is needed so that we can be sure that they are safe and effective.
Lopinavir/ritonavir is approved in Australia to treat HIV infection and hydroxychloroquine is approved in Australia to treat malaria. These drugs are not approved to treat COVID-19. Therefore, both are experimental treatments that are being tested to see if they are effective treatments for COVID 19.
The ASCOT trial aims to generate results quickly. After the trial begins, results will be continually analysed, so that treatments that don’t work can be stopped and new treatments can be trialed as part of the study.
This research will improve our knowledge of how to treat COVID-19 and may improve the care of patients with COVID-19 in Australia, New Zealand and across the world.